MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- In little over a week, the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships will be held in Madison for the first time ever. What brought this national event to the area is a local group founded by a former Badger.
The team practicing this week, with Badger track club founder and coach Scott Brinen center.
The Badger track club is comprised of local athletes from ages 10 through 14 who work while their classmates are more than likely asleep.
"It’s amazing because I think they're really self motivated and that's the key to it,” says Badger track club founder and coach Scott Brinen.
Brinen founded the club in 2016. A former UW-Madison runner himself, who then ran professionally after graduating, always sought to give back to the sport he loves. Now he passes down that experience to his athletes.
"One of the things that I really learned from this whole thing was the perseverance part of it. Constant challenges and the ups and downs and getting knocked down and getting back up. And I think that's really what I try and teach the kids,” Brinen says.
"It just gives me a lot of pride and just makes me know that like I can do it. Kind of like pushes me to all my limits,” says Mackenzie Babcock, a runner on the team.
While providing training during the spring for track and field, and cross country in the fall, Brinen has also been organizing to bring the junior national championships to Madison for the last two and a half years.
"It's been challenging, but I think it's important that at times in your life to challenge yourself to really find out how hard you can work,” Brinen says.
All that hard work, providing new opportunities for those he mentors.
According to runner Jack Boerger:
"I’m really excited to compete against some of the best athletes in the country. I've really only competed against people from Wisconsin, and more or less my region of Wisconsin, so I’m really want to see what other states have to offer."